By Shari Phiel, December 5, 2014, The Daily News
More than 1,100 businesses across the state, including 12 in Cowlitz County, could be affected by new state requirements to prevent stormwater from polluting streams, lakes and rivers.
The Department of Ecology announced the permit changes on Wednesday; they go into effect Jan. 2, said Ecology spokeswoman Sandy Howard.
Howard said most of the permit changes will affect businesses and industries in the Puget Sound region. The permit changes also incorporate new federal regulations for de-icing equipment at airports with 1,000 or more annual jet departures.
“This permit doesn’t really have a lot of big changes in it,” Howard said.
Stormwater is rain and snowmelt that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways and parking lots. The volume of stormwater runoff from industrial sites, as well as the amount of pollution carried in the runoff, can be significantly higher than under natural conditions, the state says. If not properly managed, stormwater can carry toxic contaminants into downstream waters, and harm fish, wildlife and the habitat they rely on, Ecology said.
The Port of Longview is among the local landowners who must comply with the new regulations. Recently, the port announced it would make $1 million in upgrades to its stormwater treatment system next year. The need to better manage stormwater was one of the reasons the port cited for restoring its full property taxing authority last year
“I can’t say that we’re going to be changing anything that we have already been planning on doing in the long run. But it is a new permit and there always is a new nuance to portions of the permit that we’ve have to be compliant with,” Port of Longview Planning Director Lisa Hendriksen said Thursday.
Other local businesses that could be affected by the new requirements include JH Kelly, Brown Strauss Steel, Cascade Hydraulics and Machine, Roemer Electric Steel Foundry, Simpson Longview Lumber, Solvay Chemicals, Waite Specialty Machine, Waste Control Recycling, Wayron LLC, Wilcox & Flegel and Woods Logging. Several of the businesses contacted Thursday were unaware of the stormwater changes.